WALLEYE NEWS

October Walleye State Meeting

A block of rooms has been set aside at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center in Billings. 
Please call and make your room reservation using your credit card.  We have worked it out to cut a check to the hotel after the meeting so your room should not be charged on your credit card when you check out. 
There are 30 rooms in the block for the Hotel.  Last day to reserve a room in the block is October 8th.  PHONE: 406-248-7151
TOLL FREE: 800-537-7286
As of right now we have scheduled on October 15th the Social at the hotel starting at 5 pm.  Billings Chapter of Walleyes Unlimited has graciously offered to host the appetizers.  It will be a cash bar.

Montana State Parks and Recreation Board to meet Oct. 7

The Montana State Parks and Recreation Board will meet in person on Oct. 7, beginning at 1 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Montana State Capitol in Room 303.

Interested members of the public may comment during the meeting in person or via Zoom. To listen to the meeting and for information on how to join the meeting via Zoom, click on the Montana State Parks and Recreation Board’s webpage prior to the meeting start time.

For a full agenda and background on the scheduled topics, go to the Montana State Parks and Recreation Board meeting webpage.

The board will take action on the following items:

Somers Beach Dynamic Beach Project
Ackley Lake State Park Lease Agreement with DNRC
The board will also have a work session at the conclusion of the meeting to hear updates on the following items:

Department reorganization
Hell Creek State Park transition
Smith River State Park Planning Report
Flathead Islands Environmental Assessment
Missouri Headwaters State Park Master Plan
Parks capital projects approved at the May 27, 2021, board meeting
Signage
Weed management
Fire season
The public is welcomed to listen to the work session, but no public participation will be allowed.

FWP’s website offers live-streamed audio of each Parks and Recreation Board meeting.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks ensures its meetings are fully accessible to persons with disabilities. If special accommodations are needed, please contact the Parks Division at 406-444-3750.

Future Fisheries projects approved – Aug 26, 2021

HELENA – Instream flow will improve in the Big Hole River when an irrigation diversion is upgraded to allow better control of diverted water. Westslope cutthroat trout populations will be reconnected in Lick Creek (East Fork Bitterroot River drainage) when two undersized culverts blocking fish passage are replaced with larger, functional culverts. These projects are two of 14 that recently received funding by the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission through the Future Fisheries Improvement Program (FFIP). Nearly $417,000 in funding was approved to improve Montana fisheries.

The fisheries improvements include restoration of streams to a natural condition, improving fish passage, adding habitat to a reservoir, creating stream habitat, restoring streambanks, improving water management and instream flow, protecting fish populations with barriers, keeping fish out of irrigation ditches, and more. Projects will help both native and non-native fish, including Arctic grayling, bull trout, westslope and Yellowstone cutthroat trout, brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, mountain whitefish, northern pikeminnow, bluegill, crappie, yellow perch, channel catfish and bass.

This year’s funding was matched by $2.8 million from outside sources. Watershed organizations, governmental agencies and landowners submitted a total of 14 proposed projects. All of the projects were approved, including 12 that are west and two that are east of the Continental Divide.

Applications for the FFIP winter-cycle grants are due Nov. 15, 2021, to FWP’s Fish Habitat Bureau. Application forms are available on FWP’s website, fwp.mt.gov/FFIP or at FWP offices.

Any individual or group with a project designed to restore or enhance habitat for wild or native fish may apply for FFIP funding. Applicants are encouraged to work with local FWP fisheries biologists. Landowners and other project partners usually share project costs, extending FFIP dollars.

More information and FFIP applications are available on FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov/FFIP.

Approved FFIP projects

Billings Area

Lake Elmo fish habitat supplement (Yellowstone County)

Butte and Dillon Area

Andrus Creek fish barrier (Beaverhead County)
Big Hole Daniels Ditch fish screen improvement (Beaverhead County)
Big Hole Spokane Diversion flow improvement (Beaverhead County)
South Fork Dry Cottonwood Creek road 85 fish passage (Deer Lodge County)

Hamilton Area

Lick Creek culvert replacements (Ravalli County)

Helena Area

Beaver Creek restoration phase two (Lewis & Clark County)
Willow Creek fish passage (Lewis & Clark County)

Livingston Area

Mill Creek fish barrier (Park County)

Missoula Area

Clark Fork River Flynn-Lowney ditch water savings (Missoula County)
Little Park Creek restoration and WCT conservation (Missoula County)
Miller Creek Bear Run stream restoration (Missoula County)
Placid Lake outlet barrier improvement (Missoula County)
Trail Creek fish passage (Missoula County)

-fwp-

AIS Grant Training

Montana DNRC and the Montana Invasive Species Council (MISC) are currently accepting AIS grant applications. AIS Grant Program guidelines and application instructions can be found here.  

Applications are due November 3 by 5 p.m. to fund aquatic invasive species projects.  Log on to Submittable to apply.

DNRC/MISC AIS Grant — FY22 Cycle 1 Application

FWP and MISC are hosting a grant training and Q/A for organizations interested in applying for AIS Education and Outreach grants.

Liz Lodman, AIS Information Officer for Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and Stephanie Criswell, AIS Grant Manager for DNRC/MISC will host a training on Thursday, August 26 from 1-4 p.m.

Join us to learn about:

  • AIS Education and Outreach project opportunities
  • AIS Grant Application process
  • Submittable training (new online application system)
  • Q&A
  • Hear from successful grant recipients

Contact us with questions or to register for the online training:

llodman@mt.gov

scriswell@mt.gov

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 845 6150 5292 Password: 812588

Dial by Telephone +1 646 558 8656 or +1 406 444 9999 Meeting ID: 845 6150 5292 Password: 812588

Fish and Wildlife Commission to meet Aug. 20

New system in place for public comments via Zoom

The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet in person on Aug. 20 at the State Capitol in room 303. Additional seating is available in the balcony. The meeting begins at 8:30 a.m.

Public comment via Zoom will be managed with the system utilized by the Legislature. People interested in commenting must register online via the Fish, Wildlife & Parks website by 12 p.m. Aug. 19. Members of the public will also be able to comment in person at the meeting or at any FWP regional office.

To sign up to comment by 12 p.m. on Aug. 19, go to: https://myfwp.mt.gov/fwpPub/mtg/fishandwildlifecommissionmeeting08202021

The commission is expected to make final decisions on the following:

  • Marias Crossing FAS Acquisition
  • Montana Rail Lin Clark Fork River Temporary Closure Rule
  • Future Fisheries Improvement Program Summer 2021 Funding Recommendations
  • Southwest Montana Brown Trout Fishing Regulations
  • Wolf and Furbearer Trapping Setbacks
  • 2021 Furbearer Seasons and Quotas
  • 2021 Wolf Season Quotas, Regulations
  • 2021 Traditional Muzzleloader Deer and Elk Season
  • 2021-22 Elk Shoulder Season Adjustments
  • Nongame Check-Off Workplan
  • Jordan Urban Wildlife Plan
  • 2021 Contractual Public Elk Hunting Access Agreements
  • Pheasant Translocations

The commission will hear and may move forward the following proposals:

  • 2022 Fishing Regulations
  • Brucellosis Review and Annual Work Plan
  • Big Horn Sheep Transplant to Wild Horse Island
  • Turkey Transplants in Region 4
  • Mule Deer Adaptive Harvest Management Plan

The commission will also look at endorsing the Sha Ron FAS acquisition, and hear presentations for the selection of conservation organizations who will conduct various license auctions:

FWP ensures its meetings are fully accessible to those with special needs. To request arrangements, call FWP at 406-444-3186. For a full agenda and background on the scheduled topics, go to the Fish and Wildlife Commission page on the FWP website

FWP’s website offers live streamed audio of each Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting.


Send us your best fishing photo and art

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks announces the annual fishing regulation photo and kids’ art contest. Winners will see their work on the front and back cover of the 2022 fishing regulation booklets.

All submitted photos will be considered for the contest, but the department will give special consideration to photos that highlight the diversity of people and fishing opportunities that Montana has to offer.

Photo contest:

  • Photo must be vertical (portrait) mode, or suitable for tight vertical cropping to fit the available space on the regs cover.
  • Photo must be a minimum resolution and size of 6 inches tall at 300 pixels-per-inch.
  • FWP will feature your name on the front cover as credit. Please specify how you would like to be credited.
  • Please include a short description of the photo, so we can provide some caption information.
  • Ownership of the photo is retained by the photographer, who may use his/her image for other purposes.
  • Please do not send photos of fish that have been mounted.
  • Photo must be taken in Montana.

Art contest

  • Kids 12 and younger are invited to submit a colored drawing of a fish that lives in Montana.

Please send in your best photo and drawing today! Email to fwpphotocontest@mt.gov. Deadline is Oct. 15.

Winners will receive their photo on the cover, a subscription to Montana Outdoors Magazine and a Montana Outdoors t-shirt

FWP Open House for State of MT – August

HELENA – Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks director, deputy director and members of their staff will be visiting regional offices during a tour of the state in August and September.

Director Hank Worsech and Deputy Director Dustin Temple invite the public to join them at regional FWP offices for open houses. All meetings will run from 5 to 8 p.m. The schedule is as follows:

  • Aug. 23: Region 2 Headquarters in Missoula, 3201 Spurgin Road
  • Aug. 24: Region 1 Headquarters in Kalispell, 490 North Meridian Road
  • Aug. 31: Region 4 Headquarters in Great Falls, 4600 Giant Springs Road
  • Sept. 1: Region 6 Headquarters in Glasgow, 1 Airport Road
  • Sept. 7: Region 3 Headquarters in Bozeman, 1400 South 19th
  • Sept. 8: Region 5 Headquarters in Billings, 2300 Lake Elmo Drive
  • Sept. 9 Region 7 Headquarters in Miles City, 352 I-94 Business Loop

“It’s been a busy year and we know people have a lot of things they’re interested in discussing,” said Worsech. “This is a great opportunity for us to hear directly from the public on topics they’re passionate about.”

FWP ensures its meetings are fully accessible to those with special needs. To request arrangements, call FWP at 406-444-3186.  

AIS Grant APPLICATION

DNRC and MISC will be accepting grant applications beginning August 1 to fund aquatic invasive species projects. 

NEW this cycle: 

  • DNRC is transitioning from WebGrants to Submittables and this change will make it easier to complete and manage your application online. Grantees will  be able to complete reports, send notifications, and track and edit submissions. Click here to create an account and here to watch a video on how to get started with Submittables.       
  • MISC has established permanent dates for the annual AIS grant cycle.

Application cycle opens:   August 1 
Application cycle closes:  1st Wednesday in November by 5 p.m. (11/3/21)
AIS Grant Hearings:           2nd Wednesday in January (1/12/21)  

Up to $50,000 is available per project to Montana communities or local, state, tribal, or other entities within the state and to Montana-based non-governmental entities.

AIS grants are intended to increase local capacity and involvement to address AIS issues. Projects that address the following AIS management components are eligible and include:

  • Prevention
  • Early detection
  • Education and outreach
  • Research
  • Treatment

Current state-wide priorities that have been identified and vetted with former grantees and stakeholders for the upcoming AIS grant cycle include grants related to:

  • Monitoring / early detection projects to expand local capacity and involvement in multi-AIS taxa early detection efforts.
  • AIS outreach projects that expand AIS awareness at the local level.
  • AIS research projects including eDNA research related to dreissenid mussel early detection addressing eDNA Science Advisory Panel recommendations.

Locally-led proposals that address the state-wide priorities will receive ranking preference, however all eligible grant requests will be evaluated and considered.

Applications are due Wednesday, November 5, 2021, by 5 pm.  

AIS Grant Program Guidelines and application instructions can be found here.

Please contact Stephanie Criswell with any questions about the program, the grant and application, or for technical support. 

Thank you for your interest and for Protecting Montana Waters.

FWP to meet June 24th via ZOOM – June 8th

Fish and Wildlife Commission to meet June 24

The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet June 24 via Zoom. Details on how to access the meeting will be posted on fwp.mt.gov closer to the meeting date. The meeting will also be audio streamed online at fwp.mt.gov. The meeting begins at 8:30 a.m.

If you get online prior to 8:30 or the start of the meeting, you may need to refresh your web browser when the meeting begins.

The commission will make final decisions on the following:

  • Madison River recreation committee appointees
  • Extending implementation date of Madison commercial use cap
  • 2021 fish removal projects
  • Buffalo Creek fishing regulation change
  • TNC recreational access agreements
  • Avista recreational access agreements
  • Stimson recreational access agreements
  • North Shore WMA farming lease
  • Calf Creek forestry habitat project
  • Administrative rule repeal regarding classification of black bear
  • Chronic wasting disease work plan
  • Nonresident hound handler permits
  • 2021 mountain lion quotas
  • Elk guiding principles and timeline

The commission will hear the following proposals:

  • Kootenai Falls and Bull River WMAs blowdown salvage project
  • Nongame check-off annual work plan
  • Jordan urban wildlife plan
  • 2021 muzzleloader deer and elk season
  • 2021 furbearer season regulations and quotas
  • 2021 wolf season regulations
  • 2021 elk shoulder season
  • 2021 HB 454 agreements

The commission will look at endorsing:

  • Stuart Mill Bay FAS partial sale
  • Brown’s Lake FAS peninsula acquisition
  • 26 Mile MDT FAS lease
  • Montana Rail Link Clark Fork River temporary closure
  • 2021 pheasant translocations – UGBEP and youth pheasant

FWP ensures its meetings are fully accessible to those with special needs. To request arrangements, call FWP at 406-444-3186. For the full agenda and background on the scheduled topics, go to the FWP click “Commission.”

FWP’s website offers live streamed audio of each Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting.

Anglers Forum Update – May 21st

Out first anglers forum since the fall of 2018 was held today. This forum consists of fishing organizations throughout the state so that we can discuss possible issues, resolve them, and improve our fishing opportunities. Myself, Bob Gilbert and Dale Gilbert are members. Bob will be sending a more detailed account later of the meeting.

Most of the meeting was focused on FWP funding approved by the legislature. FWP received most of what they asked for plus some additional funds that they didn’t request.

I’ve attached several documents concerning fish stocking that were handed out at the meeting.

FWP is requesting public input on current fish removal projects (the deadline for comments is June 3rd), the website link is; https://fwp.mt.gov/conservation/fisheries-management/removal-projects

Mike Sedlock

First 2021 Tournament is in the books! – May 24th

Top 5 Overall results from Crooked Creek Classic Tournament
1st – Jake Monroe and Jeff Ingram – 60.76 lbs
2nd – Kyle DeBolt and Matt Heinert – 49.86 lbs
3rd – Nate Molstad and Jerry Molstad – 49.38 lbs
4th – Bob Hickey and Jason Mundel – 49.04 lbs
5th – Steve Thomas and Ray Cole – 44.76

Click on Tournament/Results to see a full listing of results

Park board to discuss Hell Creek State Park lease agreement proposal – April 25th

HELENA – The Montana State Parks and Recreation Board will meet April 27 to discuss a proposal to enter a two-year, no-cost lease agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the operation and maintenance of Hell Creek State Park on Fort Peck Reservoir. The proposal includes the option of two one-year extensions.

Under this proposed action, FWP will work with the Little Shell Tribe during the upcoming lease term. The Tribe has expressed interest in managing the federally owned recreation site in the future.

“This path forward will ensure continued operations at the site for the anglers and visitors who value Hell Creek and the recreational opportunities found there,” said FWP director Hank Worsech.

An environmental assessment analyzing the proposal was released today. The public can comment on the EA by emailing board members at parksboard@mt.gov and at the public meeting. To view a draft of the environmental assessment and to provide public comment, please visit fwp.mt.gov and click on “News and Public Notices.”

The board meeting will be conducted via Zoom. Due to COVID-19, there will be no in-person meeting. For information on participating in the hearing, visit the Parks and Recreation Board page on fwp.mt.gov. The main agenda item will be “Hell Creek State Park lease renewal with the Army Corps of Engineers.”         

The 337-acre park on the south side of Fort Peck Lake is an important public recreational site. FWP has had a long relationship with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the park, with a formal relationship dating back to at least the 1960s.

During the term of the previous lease, significant capital investments were made on the site, including staff housing units, a maintenance building, comfort station, electrification of the public campground, and significant investments in site infrastructure related to public safety (public water supply and wastewater disposal).

FWP announces change to walleye regulation in section of Missouri River, Canyon Ferry and Hauser reservoirsApril 15th

GREAT FALLS – Anglers need to be aware of a new fishing regulation change for walleye on the Missouri River from Toston through Canyon Ferry and Hauser Reservoir.  

The new regulation went into effect April 1 and are limits for walleye of 10 daily, only one over 15 inches. Possession limit is twice the daily limit. 

This regulation was approved by the Fish and Wildlife Commission at its meeting April 1 and went into effect immediately.


FWP Zoom Meeting Recap on Canyon Ferry Rules – April 5

Here is a link to the FWP ZOOM MEETING held 4/1 about Canyon Ferry and Upper Missouri Proposed new fishing regulations for Daily Walleye limits down to 10 with only 1 over 15″.

Upper Missouri River Management Plan – Your comments needed!

The Upper Missouri River Reservoir Fisheries Management Plan guides fisheries management for Canyon Ferry, Hauser, and Holter Reservoirs and the Missouri River from Toston to Canyon Ferry and from Hauser Dam to upper Holter Reservoir. The plan sets fisheries goals to maintain quality multi-species fisheries throughout the system and outlines strategies to effectively meet goals. Development of the plan was completed through rigorous public process and was approved by the Fish and Wildlife Commission in December 2019.

Proposal, changes to current fishing regulations, and survey are all due March 15th.

https://fwp.mt.gov/conservation/fisheries-programs/upper-missouri-management-plan?fbclid=IwAR0_qBx4Yj1SxjA_9zE_9sR9_sL9fxteD_DnB5CdRinXNrvG06dG_jtJMFA

**What we would like to see if the proposed limit for the reservoirs of 10 daily with 1 over 15” be approved. And for the river we would like to see the same regulation applied of 10 daily with 1 over 15”

Walleyes Unlimited Legislature Preference ListJan 28

Click on the link below to view a list of all bills Walleyes Unlimited are following for this 2021 Montana Legislature session.

http://laws.leg.mt.gov/legprd/law_utilities.CallBillSearchResults?P_ENTY_ID_SEQ2=16481&P_PFLT_APPL_SEQ=1&P_SESS=20211

HB 152 – Second offense for plug violation – Jan 18

It is a secondary offense violation. A vehicle has to be stopped for a different violation before Law Enforcement can check for the plug violation. It is written like our seat belt law.  Applies only to Highway Patrolman, Sheriff’s Officers, and City Policemen. Game Wardens have no authority to enforce traffic or motor vehicle registration laws, only Fish and Game laws. 

https://legiscan.com/MT/bill/HB152/2021

Even a worse idea than I thought. 

Please use our contact page and select Executive Director – Bob Gilbert

Thank you,
Bob Gilbert  E.D.Lobbyist

HB 154 Requires drain plugs to be removed while trailering Jan 11

Notice On 1-12-21 House Bill 152 was assigned to the House Natural Resources Committee.  As of today, 1-14-21, a hearing date has not been scheduled.  The Bill is sponsored by Neil Duram from Eureka at the request of the Department of Natural Resources.  Not from FWP. The Bill will require that all boat drain plugs be removed during transit in the State.  The WUM Board discussed this same proposal a couple of years or so ago and decided not to support it.  I am asking for member input with your opinions.  Also, since the time for the hearing will be soon please call or email your Legislators on the House Natural Resources Committee and express your opinions.

This is a bad idea and needs to be defeated.  Please note the comments on the Bill by Dale Gilbert.  He is spot on.

  1. Since we are already required to remove the plug, clean and dry the boat prior to leaving a site….what additional benefit is gained by leaving the plug removed?  Does the benefits out weigh the risks?
  2. Leaving the plug removed would potentially result in the loss of the plug, damage to the boat drain hole from the a plug left dangling while trailering down the road.
  3. Leaving the drain plug removed will also likely result in boaters forgetting to replace it prior to launching and creating a dangerous situation or at the very least congestion at the ramp while they are trying to get the plug in or have to reload the boat.

Please get in touch with Committee Members or email to me at your earliest convenience.      Please use our contact page and select Executive Director – Bob Gilbert

Thank you,
Bob Gilbert  E.D.Lobbyist

2021 MONTANA FISHING ENHANCEMENT ACT

PREAMBLE Whereas sport fishing is part of Montana’s rich outdoor heritage, and fishing is culturally important to over two hundred thousand residents of Montana, 100,000 out-of-state visitors and whereas sport fishing is a $280,000,000 dollar industry in Montana, and whereas the total angler days of fishing in Montana appears to be declining for both resident anglers and visitors, and that a very large percent of the sport fish caught in Montana are non-native fish, NOW THEREFORE it is policy of the State Montana to:

1. Recognize the cultural importance of sport fishing in Montana for all important fish species.

2. Recognize the economic importance of sport fishing in Montana

3. Give equal recognition to both native fish and important non-native fish of economic and cultural importance.

4. Important Montana fish species include non-native Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout and Brook Trout; Westslope Cutthroat Trout; Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout; Bull Trout; Arctic Grayling; Mountain Whitefish; Northern Pike; Walleyes; Yellow Perch; Kokanee Salmon; Largemouth Bass; Smallmouth Bass; Crappies; Catfish; Sauger; non-native Lake Trout; and Lake Superior Whitefish.

5. Montana FWP shall take all appropriate steps to improve and enhance fishing opportunities in Montana for all species of importance

6. The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks shall update the state fisheries management plan to ensure maintaining healthy and viable populations for all fish of importance as mentioned in this legislation. The update of the state fish management plan shall include extensive public meetings and will consider public input.

7. Any fish management project to assist native threatened or endangered or sensitive fish species, which reduces sport fishing opportunities for other fish species of importance, shall provide for replacement sport fishing opportunities of the fish species displaced.

8. All existing fish hatcheries shall be kept open and in full production similar to average hatchery production for the last five years. FWP shall provide a complete assessment of the current fish hatchery system, future needs and recommended changes, including budget requirements to the 2023 Legislature.


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